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Building Family, School and Community Engagement Summary

What is it?

Schools are one part in a larger social system that includes families and communities, which are equally responsible for the development of youth. School-community partnerships, or collaborations, are more than just informal links. An effective collaboration is a formal agreement among participants to establish an autonomous structure to accomplish goals that would be difficult to achieve by any of the participants alone. The collaboration requires infrastructure that ensures participants ability to accomplish a shared vision and meet a set of goals.

Establishing long-term collaborations includes commitment, vision, cohesive policy, and systematic changes to develop formal and institutionalized sharing of a wider rang of resources.

Strong school, family, and community collaboration is a key strategy for efforts to generate essential interventions to address barriers to learning, enhance healthy development, and strengthen communities.

Why is it important?

It is only when this type of structure is disregarded that groups find themselves meeting and talking, but going nowhere.

Partnerships can include Included are service agencies, businesses, community-based organizations, post-secondary institutions, religious and civic groups, programs at parks and libraries, and any other facilities that can be used for recreation, learning and literacy, youth development and enrichment, vocational education, and economic development. The political realities of local control have further expanded collaborative bodies to encompass local policymakers, representatives of families, nonprofessionals, volunteers, and, indeed, all who are willing to contribute their talents and resources

Three decades of research provide convincing evidence that parents are an important influence in helping their child achieve high academic standards. When schools collaborate with parents to help their child learn and when parents participate in school activities and decision-making about their child's education, children achieve at higher levels. In short, when parents are involved in education, children do better in school.

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